Meridiana (IG, Olbia) will transition into an all-Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) operator at the end of the year when it phases out its six dry-leased A320-200s, nine MD-82s and one MD-83, CEO Roberto Scaramella, has said.

Speaking to FlightGlobal, Scaramella said the Italian carrier will replace the departed aircraft with second-hand B737-700s, B737-800s and B767-300(ER)s set to be either leased or owned outright. At present, Meridiana's subsidiary Air Italy (2005) (I9, Milan Malpensa) operates two B737-300s, three B737-700s, three B737-800s, one B767-200(ER) and two B767-300(ER)s.

In the longrun, the CEO added, the Bombardier Aerospace (BBA, Montréal Trudeau) CSeries along with Boeing's B737 MAX are also being considered though this is contingent on the airline successfully completing its restructuring programme.

Following the successful completion of a share buy-back scheme in May which saw him acquiring a 96.87% shareholding in Meridiana via his various firms, the Aga Khan Foundation (Geneva) announced the recapitalisation of the airline to the tune of EUR200million (USD278million).

A decision to delist Meridiana from the Milan bourse with effect from January 1, 2015 will allow management to more effectively pursue its restructuring programme without the burden of having to continuously inform shareholders and the market of its decisions.

Against the backdrop of losses of EUR87.6million (USD102.1million) in 2012 and EUR155million in 2013, Meridiana launched its restructuring programme in 2013. It entails the aforementioned fleet optimization programme as well as a staff downsizing strategy which will directly affect 1,500 staff members employed on rotating contracts. The plan is also aimed at streamlining the airline's route network with emphasis on developing "a limited number of catchment areas."

“We are now progressing in our improvement plan and with the completion of the strategic steps highlighted above we will be able to reach operating profitability in the next 12 months,” a spokesman told Air Transport World.